By Michael Bennett
When you attend tonight’s Sixers-Pistons game at the Wells you will be serenaded by a 40-year-old disco-themed song that was popular when Julius Erving was levitating and has been resurrected for the team’s re-launch as a real NBA commodity.
As the New York Times recounts:
When T. J. McConnell (above), a reserve guard for the Philadelphia 76ers, was married last summer, his brother and best friend surprised him at the end of the reception. The funky beat of a familiar song filled the room as the dance floor flooded with friends and family.
McConnell knew the lyrics by heart:
Here they come, Philadelphia,
On the run, stand up and cheer!
No. 1, Philadelphia,
Here they come, team of the year!
“Everyone went nuts,” McConnell said.
The song was “Here Come the Sixers,” a disco-flavored anthem from 1975 that has become the soundtrack for the N.B.A.’s most precocious team. The 76ers are so young, they might as well take a school bus to their games. But they commemorate their victories by dancing to a song that practically struts down the street in bell-bottoms while shaking a tambourine.
“It’s very strange,” said Terry Rocap, 70, a musician who performed on the original recording. “But it’s a good tune. People seem to like it.”
The 76ers, under the direction of Scott O’Neil, their chief executive, have been dipping into the franchise’s past even as the team reinvents itself.
Chris Heck, their president for business operations, cited the team’s new slate of uniforms, which quilt together several eras: There’s “Phila” lettering from 1960, stars from the 1970s and a collar taken from the jerseys worn by the 76ers during the 1982-83 season, when they last won an N.B.A. championship.
“When Scott came in about five years ago, we got together and said, ‘We need to start bringing back what was great about the Sixers,’” Heck said. “Because the heritage is amazing.”